How to kill initiative in one easy lesson

I’ve seen a copy of an open letter sent to all Ontario ARES district and emergency coordinators sent by the section manager where, among many other comments, he states he has fired the current section emergency coordinator.

This is very distressing news.

The reason for the dismissal as stated was the SEC was also holding the position of president of the Emergency Communications Ontario Association (ECOA).

According to the letter the ECOA was setup in order to allow for the group to access the RAC insurance program. Now this is stated in the letter and I have no idea if that’s true or not and nobody’s paying me to play reporter here so I’m not going to make calls to find out what’s right here.

Besides this isn’t about what is right and wrong and the SM’s letter goes on for two pages of single space type defending RAC’s position in this matter and I’m not going to take up the bandwidth repeating any of it.

No the issue here isn’t who’s right and whining about why something happened or didn’t happen.

The issue is why has RAC allowed this situation become a crisis?

Obviously if the ECOA folks were getting what they wanted from RAC, there wouldn’t be a conflict. But because they didn’t do what RAC wanted they’re out?

Does this have a heavy-handed bureaucratic smell to it?

Ask yourself if this situation sounds like it is in the best interest of Amateur Radio in Canada or is it in the best interest of ECOA or in the best interest of RAC?

Another sad day for Amateur Radio in this country.

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

8 thoughts on “How to kill initiative in one easy lesson

  1. First, I would be interested in seeing the letter in question and would appreciate receiving information as to how that might be accomplished. (Yes, I’m a RAC member, #606.)

    As for the reported firing, this would seem to touch very closely upon what I wrote on these pages just a few days ago. But until I see the letter, I won’t know how closely.


  2. Good day Peter,

    I have been quietly following the ECOA / ARES / RAC developments as best I can as an interested bystander. There is only so much information that is freely and openly available and not having any insider information I have to rely on my ability to separate the wheat from the chaff to put it politely.

    When I first read through the ECOA web site it appeared to me the good intentions of those involved was also an attempt to “stir the pot”. It also looked like an organized effort to work around some of the recent restrictions imposed by the RAC with regards to members liability insurance as well.

    Overall, it gives the impression of one group trying to organize a hostile takeover of another whether that was the intent or not. I can see and understand their (ECOA’s) frustration and desire innovate, move forward, and do good.

    Like it or not, this just may be the issue that will test the RAC’s resolve; whether they are in it for the good of Amateur Radio in Canada and have the resolve and fortitude to set things right or want to remain seen as a bunch of posturing baboons. It may just be the next big step on the road to the end.

    As always, eyes and ears open watching and listening for news and developments, good or bad.

    cheers, Graham ve3gtc

  3. Regarding the “insurance restrictions imposed by RAC”, has anyone stopped to consider, these restrictions may have been imposed by the Insurance Industry, and RAC may be legally required follow the insurance industry rules?

    Several years ago, our local club signed up for the RAC club insurance. RAC was very helpful and sign-up went smoothly. During following year, the insurance provider was impossible to deal with, could not or would not provide us with the necessary legal paperwork to satisfy our municipality. We ended up cancelling the RAC club insurance, and getting our own private insurance, otherwise we were “dead in the water”. I blame the insurance industry, not RAC, for this situation.

  4. David,

    You are correct; “insurance restrictions imposed by RAC” was my poor choice of words.

    Of course any such restrictions are usually imposed by the insurer and simply passed on by the RAC. Many other groups are having difficult times dealing with insurers and liability insurance.

    The point was that the requirement now was that the member was required to be a member of a RAC affiliated club in order to be covered. Membership in ECOA would be a simple and inexpensive “end run” around this requirement rather than as a member of a local non affiliated club having to full fill whatever legal and potentially expensive requirements where outstanding (by that club) to become a a RAC affiliated club. My choice of terms may be out of sync with the terms and descriptions in the RAC documents, I have attempted to paraphrase my understanding of this topic. This particular point has not been an issue for me but I do recall that this change to the insurance policy caused a bit of a stir when it was first announced.

    cheers, Graham ve3gtc

  5. David VE3UZ on July 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm said:
    “Regarding the “insurance restrictions imposed by RAC”, has anyone stopped to consider, these restrictions may have been imposed by the Insurance Industry, and RAC may be legally required follow the insurance industry rules?”

    This may be true, but don’t you think that if the restrictions issued by the insurer do not meet the needs of the members being insured, that RAC should be looking for a new insurance company and policy?

    As an example, how many clubs across the country are not incorporated and therefore not able to be a “RAC affiliated club” and therefore are not eligible to have club insurance?

    How many hams are members of clubs who are not RAC affiliated clubs and are now not eligible to have RAC insurance coverage?

    Is it fair that a member of a club, that is not a RAC affiliated club, be denied insurance coverage, yet is charged the same annual membership fee as a member who is a member of a RAC affiliated club and can get insurance coverage? One must wonder if that little jewel has been passed by the RAC corporate lawyer, because where I come from that’s called discrimination.

    In my ARES District we have four ARES groups. Two of those groups are not incorporated, and are no longer eligible to get RAC insurance either for their group or for their individual members. Is it fair to ask ARES members to react to an emergency yet allow RAC to deny them insurance coverage to do so?

    This current RAC executive and board have failed us miserably, and it’s time they went.

  6. I have never had any faith in RAC being able to deliver insurance coverage to its members, and that goes back to the very beginings of RAC, circa 1990. Some of that disbelief stems from my view of insurance providers. Here is some food for thought; I have some involvement with the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC), as some other hams do. That organization has good liability insurance for its members. It is interesting to compare the two structures. A flyer is expected to have joined MAAC and have their insurance, in order to fly at any local club, even if just visiting for one day of flying. No MAAC means no flying. This seems to be the inverse of what RAC is trying to do. For decades, I have wondered, why can’t RAC do that? But I am a dreamer. So, I agree with you about the failure, but it goes farther back in time.

  7. Besides the insurance short fall, here is another to consider. With MAAC, their magazine and their website are both always 100% bilingual. You wonder why RAC has little particiapation in Quebec, think about it.

  8. Art Moseley VE3UZE August 2nd, 2011 11.30 am
    I have been involved with a long line of Clubs and organizations who are Incorporated so that they can carry out their interests and one of the paramount requirements for Directors of Incorporated not for profit organizations and clubs is that Director’s Insurance is a must to protect the personal assets of those Directors who are responsible for the day to day activities and management of their respective clubs and organizations.

    RAC mandates that for an Amateur Radio Club to be elligible for the RAC insurance coverage, the Amateur Radio Club must be an Incorporated not for profit Club, but for some unknown reason RAC do not see the need to provide those Directors of Incorporated not for profit Clubs any Director’s insurance coverage to protect tham should the Club become legally involved with and kind of an action of responsibility. Those Directors are hung out to dry as in Incorporated Clubs and Associations it is the Directors and only the Directors who are legally responsible for the actions of the Clubs and their members.

    This whole issue could be resolved if RAC would do the necessary legwork to find insurers such as exist in the United States that will insure their member Clubs without having to be Incorporatred. RAC can stay incorporated if it wishes, but has to make sure that their member Clubs do not have to be Incorporated to have the insurance coverage. American Amateur Radio Clubs and their members can be insured and not too long ago there was an article about insuring Amateur Radio Clubs in the US and their requirements are far less than what RAC insists on.

    What RAC does not see or understand is the fact that once an Amateur Radio Club or Organization is Incorporated in Canada, it opens up a whole new world of requirements by not only Revenue Canada, but each Provincial Government as well Incorporated not-for-profit Clubs
    now have a Revenue Canada and Provincial file number and when I was Secretary of the orillia Amateur Radio Club and the Club Incorporated to be eligible for the insurance coverage, one of the first two letters we got was from the GST and HST Tax Departments. In addition to this, each province across Canada requires by law that every Incorporated Club or Organization registered as a not-for-profit Incorporated Club or Organization must file annual returns of information to the Corporations Department of that province. These returns in Ontario are lengthy, MUST be filed iin a prescribrd manner and within a certain length of time and if not abided by, can carry severe financial penalties for none compliance.

    I no long serve on an Amateur Radio Club Executive mainly because I do not want to risk my retirement fund because our Club makes a mistage some day and the Directors of the Club get sued.

    So RAC, think about the requirements you have placed on simple Clubs and Associations who all they want to do is play with their radios, make some contacts and perhaps take part in Emergency Communications in Canada to help make Canada a better place to live.


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